Coal Can Save the Third World

The lack of access to low-cost electricity is one of the main contributors to poverty in the Third World. For those concerned about the environment, many of these countries can construct coal-fueled power plants by automatically using technology that can produce emissions that are extremely low. In addition to providing Third World populations with a source of energy to improve their lives so too can coal lift people up economically. 


By Taylor Rose l August 25, 2015

The most commonly held belief about the Third World is that it is mired in poverty the solution to which is endless amounts of foreign aid. However, as the Asian Tigers – Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan – are proving, there is an alternative. Industrialization fueled by coal could lift places like Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia out of poverty.

“For a significant part of world’s population, reliable electricity access is simply not available. For these people, it then becomes more difficult to pump clean water,” heat homes, and have sustainable agriculture, said Rick Curtsinger, Media Manager for Cloud Peak Energy who spoke to SFPPR News & Analysis. The simple solution, according to Curtsinger, is “Allowing people access to low cost energy,” which is “critical to bringing them out of poverty,” with coal as the most inexpensive form of available energy.

“Many people in the developed world take this for granted.” Curtsinger says that coal provides us the energy we need to fuel many of the basic necessities of the American way of life and so it could one day do the same for places like Burma, Angola and Tanzania.

“Coal fueled power generation is the most cost-effective way to bring reliable electricity to their people,” Curtsinger pointed out. The lack of access to low-cost electricity is one of the main  contributors to poverty in the Third World. For those concerned about the environment, many of these countries can construct coal-fueled power plants by automatically using “technology that can produce emissions that are extremely low.”

In addition to providing Third World populations with a source of energy to improve their lives so too can coal lift people up economically.

According to the World Coal Association, “In addition to its direct role as an energy resource, coal plays a significant global role in sustainable development,” where coal mining is a “critical contributor to many economies,” providing over seven million jobs worldwide.

As coal is set to become “the world’s fastest growing fuel source” and “the most cost-effective way” to produce energy, this places many Third World nations in a prime economic position as many of these countries contain a vast amount of reserves.

For example, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Kazakhstan are four of the top ten global producers, together producing almost 20 percent of global output.

As demand for coal increases, so does the ability for these developing counties to meet global demand, which in turn generates profits. The World Coal Association indicates that coal is “a key component of important industrial processes such as steel and cement manufacturing – both of which are central to building the essential infrastructure of growing economies.”

By not using coal, Curtsinger warns, “they’ll use other sources such as wood, or dung for a fuel source and there are significant environmental harms that come from using those small scale fuels, when replacing those with coal, it would bring significant benefit for those people.”


Taylor Rose is a graduate of Liberty University with a B.A. in International Relations from the Helms School of Government. Fluent in English and German he has worked and studied throughout Europe specializing in American and European politics.  He is a prolific writer and author of the book Return of the Right an analysis on the revival of Conservatism in the United States and Europe. He is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.